Sunday, March 25, 2007

From purity balls to honor killings

There is something about the fundamentalist Christian practice of Purity Balls which strikes me as odd. The over emphasis on virginity reminds me of the same fascination with virginity which plagues the Islamic world. Honor killings occur when over protective families feel slighted by the alleged misdeeds of their daughters, often resulting in murder for transgression as simple as talking to boys. When fundamentalists Christians start to focus on the purity of their daughters, how long can it be before punishment for transgressions occur? How long before family honor becomes an issue?

What red blooded American girl is going to pledge her virginity to her father? It may be something that the "high-priest of the house" father can coerce from their daughters while they are young. However, only the brainwashing effect of constant peer pressure and fundamentalist indoctrination can ensnare an older teen.

The basic premise of a Purity Ball is that female sexuality is evil and must be suppressed.

Premarital sex is evil. Female sexuality must be, as ever, contained, repressed, shoved deep down lest it tempt men to sin like gleeful pagans licking ice cream from the pierced nipples of the devil. Girls do not know how to handle their own genitalia and therefore must be taught -- by their fathers, no less -- how to dilute their sexual power in order to attract a sexually unqualified, God-fearing husband. You know, same as it ever was.

I normally run screaming from this kind of thing. But a cousin recently mentioned how her daughter was baptized into a church which only allow children to date other members of the same church. It brought back all my ward-dance-with-the-Mormon-girlfriend weirdness from my youth. The practice of religion is coercive, the Mormons may be the worst, but Christian fundamentalist sects are catching up quick.

Purity Balls are bizarre, the pledge the fathers make is even more bizarre.

I, (DAUGHTER'S NAME)'S FATHER, CHOOSE BEFORE GOD TO COVER MY DAUGHTER AS HER AUTHORITY AND PROTECTION IN THE AREA OF PURITY. I WILL BE PURE IN MY OWN LIFE AS A MAN, HUSBAND AND FATHER. I WILL BE A MAN OF INTEGRITY AND ACCOUNTABLITY AS I LEAD, GUIDE AND PRAY OVER MY DAUGHTER AND MY FAMILY AS THE HIGH PRIEST IN MY HOME. THIS COVERING WILL BE USED BY GOD TO INFLUENCE GENERATIONS TO COME.

One thing that stands out as profoundly idiotic. The father pledges to be "pure". When he breaks the pledge, through infidelity, divorce, incest, drinking, drugs, or from being a normal everyday bad father, is the girl set free to have sex with impunity? No - not likely. The poor girl will be given the mixed message that dad can still be a shit, but you must keep your legs crossed. I may sound overly harsh here, but statistics are on my side. Christian fathers are no better fathers than the rest of the population. They will fail their daughters - what happens then?

Pledging to be pure does not change behavior for either person. The girl will go thoughts puberty, become sexually active, and sleep with young Johnny from down the block. The fact that she pledged to be a virgin till marriage will lead her parents to hold back important information on birth control and STD's. It really is just like sticking your head in the sand, only this time your daughter gets pregnant, Chlamydia, and kicked out of the house at the same time.

Nope - I can never do anything like this, not ever. I will beat the hell out of any boy that comes sniffing around my nieces, and I will make sure my sons know the truth about sex, birth control, and STD's. Heck - I just had the "if you want to drink a beer" talk with my 11 year old son a few days ago...

3 comments:

James W. said...

Crikey, I can't figure out the trackback for this! I'll just dirty link to it my thoughts on the matter

beepbeepitsme said...

Purity balls are decidedly creepy in my view. They promise to be "true" to daddy until some guy comes along to take daddy's place?

Does daddy get a dowry too?

I have spent a few hours reading St Jerome's writings about virginity. After that, I understand the feminist movement just that little bit more. lol

Brian said...

Fundamentalists also think that knowledge about sex is evil and forbidden. That's why they want abstinence-only education.

I believe knowledge is the most important facet of safe sex. I tell my teenage girls that one day they will become sexually active and that they need to know what the dangers are. I explain the basic biology using real body part names and talk about forms of birth control and STD prevention. We also talk about waiting until they are completely ready and the decision is not forced on them by someone else.

This is no way way implies that I am giving them permission to start having sex, but it is an admission that when they decide they are ready, I won't be there to stop them - the decision will be totally theirs.